Online class council election introduces new campaign guidelines

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Screenshot taken from video speeches linked on ION

Sophomore Sahiti Kota, a class council presidential candidate, records her campaign speech. The changes to campaign rules have led both candidates and voters to take the election more seriously. “Last year, not a lot of people read people’s platforms and it was more of just voting for who had the funniest speech,” Kota said.

Christina Lu, Team Leader

Voting opened on Jefferson’s intranet for sophomore, junior, and senior class council elections this weekend. Having the election online has changed traditional rules: candidates are now allowed to advertise on social media and private message individuals. Speeches are no longer live, but pre-recorded videos that are hyperlinked on the intranet form.

Senior Matthew Hwang, who is running for class council president, believes students may vote for different reasons than in past years.

“Many individuals might want to see how they’re able to make the most of the virtual environment and how they’re able to communicate through the virtual environment,” Hwang said.

Another difference online campaigning has brought to this year’s election is the number of students candidates can reach.

“It’s not like you know everyone in the class and it’s not easy to go up to people and talk to them. So I feel like announcing your candidacy in the Facebook group makes it a little bit easier to get your platform out there,” Kota said. 

Kota also believes this year’s election has been less of a popularity contest.

“A lot of people use the Facebook group and it has the same amount of reach to people. So I think that that’s something that we can add to even when we do get back to school because it gives everybody with the same opportunity,” Kota said.

Permitting candidates to post about their platforms has increased the flow of information to voters.

“What you remembered from [live speeches] was kind of minimal, and with the one poster that we had, it was kind of hard to get your intentions out,” Kota said. “But now you’re given access to a lot more information, candidates are a lot clearer about their platforms, and it’s easier to access them.”